John Denham criticises handling of MPs' 11% pay rise

Daily Echo: Southampton MP John Denham Southampton MP John Denham

A HAMPSHIRE MP has criticised the way the inflation-busting 11 per cent pay rise planned for Members of Parliament has been handled.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is due to unveil its recommended package of Westminster pay later this week.

Set up to decide pay for MPs after the expenses scandal, it is expected to announce a boost to basic salaries to £74,000 from 2015 – 11 per cent higher than at present.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham, who is standing down at the next general election, said last night: “It won’t affect me, but this has been handled in the worst possible way.

“There is no doubt that MPs’ pay has slipped behind doctors and head teachers that they used to be compared to.

“My worry is that by proposing such a large increase you are going to get huge pressure on candidates to say they will not take the money. We are very rapidly getting to the situation where it will be impossible to increase MPs’ pay ever.

Then it will be only people with some sort of private income from family or partner who are going into politics long-term.”

Mr Denham, a former Home Office minister, was the only local MP to respond to approaches from the Daily Echo.

But the move is fiercely opposed by the three main party leaders, who fear a voter backlash.

Cabinet minister Danny Alexander said yesterday: “Most people will find it utterly incomprehensible that at a time of pay restraint for the public sector, at a time of further squeezes on Government spending, that IPSA should be recommending (that), if that’s what they do.

“I think it would be wholly inappropriate for MPs to get such a large pay rise at a time when every other public sector worker sees their pay rises capped at one per cent.”

Mathew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, said: “Taxpayers will be furious that the pay rise comes at a time when MPs urge public pay restraint and the Chancellor tells us he can’t afford to ease the burden of taxes on hard-pressed households and businesses.”

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